Friday, September 18, 2009

And then Fall fell.

Since I've been here, the weather has stayed pleasant and inviting. People say it's humid, but I can't feel any excess moisture in the air, which means that it's perfect. At least for my Hawaii bones. Also, my brain has shifted from Fahrenheit to Celsius. My point about the weather: it's been sunny and warm. Mostly.

The first week I was here, I woke up in the night to a terrific lightning storm. Waking up, let alone in the middle of the night, is not something my body embraces. But at five in the morning, I found myself out of bed and standing on the balcony, watching the lightning shred the sky. I wasn't quite wide-awake, so the thunder made my blurry brain roll around a bit in my skull. It was like one very large welcome from Ukraine's atmosphere just for me.

Sunny and warm for three weeks.

And then last night, autumn arrived. I walked out of the metro station to find that the sky had burst its seams in every direction. Rain poured down and lighting glared in the black night. My 15-minute walk home turned into an 8-minute dash of mad happiness. With good music in my ears, I ran down the street wearing sandals, a skirt, and a crazy smile. I swear, rain turns me into a lunatic. The rain caught in my eyelashes and pasted my hair flat against my forehead. Bursts of purple lightning illuminated my path, saving me from breaking my ankle in the many pot-holes. I ran all the way up the tree-lined lane and down the ramp into the cross-walk. Soaked to the bone, I laughed when I saw a man trying to protect himself with a newspaper over his head. To my utter amazement, he caught my eye and laughed back! Nobody makes eye contact; nobody smiles; and certainly, nobody laughs with a stranger. This was the first time anybody had returned my smiles since I've been here, and it was the most shocking delight. I made a puddle on the bathroom floor as I peeled off my wet clothes, still grinning madly, and realized that the rain was not cold at all. This one warm downpour was the final slip from summer, and the gentle introduction to a chillier season.

I hope I'm ready, because it was 11 degrees today.

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